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 Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan

(Also known as: IMU, Islamic Movement of Turkestan, Islamic Party of Turkestan)

Listed 11 April 2003, re-listed 11 April 2005, 31 March 2007, 14 March 2009, 9 March 2012, 3 March 2015 and 3 March 2018.

This information is based on publicly available information about the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). To the Australian Government's knowledge, this information is accurate, reliable and has been corroborated by classified information.

Basis for listing a terrorist organisation

Division 102 of the Criminal Code provides that for an organisation to be listed as a terrorist organisation, the Attorney-General must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the organisation:

  1. is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, or assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act; or
  2. advocates the doing of a terrorist act.

For the purposes of listing a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code, the doing of a terrorist act includes the doing of a specific terrorist act, the doing of more than one terrorist act and the doing of a terrorist act, even if a terrorist act does not occur.

Terrorist activity of the organisation


The IMU's stated goals are the 'establishment of an Islamic state with the application of the Shariah' in Uzbekistan.

The IMU has undertaken the following to advance its ideology and achieve its objectives:

Directly or indirectly engaged in preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts

The IMU is directly engaged in the doing of terrorist acts. Significant attacks for which responsibility has been claimed by, or attributed to, the IMU include:

  • Throughout 2016, IMU fighters conducted attacks against Afghan security forces in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan.
  • 30 March 2015: IMU released a video showing two of its fighters executing an Afghan soldier, who was one of 30 people IMU took hostage in February 2015.
  • 8 June 2014: the attack at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Pakistan, which killed 36 including the 10 attackers. IMU claimed responsibility for the attack and later released  a video that showed the 10 IMU fighters training to conduct the attack.
  • 18 October 2013: a suicide bomb attack was conducted near Bagram Air Base, Parwan Province, Afghanistan, targeting an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) convoy. The IMU claimed responsibility for the attack;
  • 29 May 2013: in concert with the Taliban, the IMU attacked the Governor's compound in Panjshir Province, Afghanistan. Two of the attackers and a policeman died in the attack;
  • 12 May 2013: the director of the Police Department in Quetta, Pakistan, was murdered in an IMU suicide attack; and
  • 5 April 2012: IMU fighters attacked Bannu Prison, Pakistan, freeing 384 prisoners—20 of which were described by a Pakistani government spokesman as "very dangerous".

The IMU has indirectly fostered the doing of terrorist acts by releasing propaganda material of its militant activities through its media wing Jundallah Studio, which has produced and released propaganda video and audio statements.

  • On 30 March 2015, IMU released a video two of its soldiers executing an Afghan soldier and demanding the release of their comrades from jail.
  • On 12 February 2014, the IMU released a 32 minute video featuring scenes from Mir Ali, North Waziristan, filmed in December 2013, depicting IMU and other jihadi factions attacking Pakistani government forces.
  • On 26 June 2012, the IMU released a video of two female fighters calling on Muslims to conduct terrorist acts and urging women to marry fighters and to prepare their children to undertake violent extremist activities.

Details of the organisation


The former chief and co-founder of the IMU, Tahir Yuldashev, was killed in a US drone strike in South Waziristan, Pakistan, on 27 August 2009. Yuldashev's death was confirmed by the IMU in August 2010. His successor Usmon Odil, a long-time associate of Yuldashev was in turn killed by a US drone strike in North Waziristan on 29 April 2012. Odil's death was confirmed by the IMU in August 2012. Odil was replaced by his deputy Usman Ghazi. Ghazi was killed by Taliban forces in December 2015. No replacement leader has been publicly named. 


In December 2015, following the announcement by then-IMU leader Usman Ghazi that IMU had pledged allegiance to Islamic State, the Taliban conducted attacks on IMU cadres in Zabul Province, southern Afghanistan, killing approximately 90% of IMU fighters in the region.

It is estimated that, despite these losses, the IMU maintains 200–300 fighters—including foreign fighters from Africa, Pakistan, the Philippines, Bangladesh, China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan—in the northern provinces of Afghanistan and fighting alongside Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-KP).

Recruitment and funding

IMU members have previously fought alongside the Taliban, al-Qa'ida, and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and currently fight alongside IS-KP, against Coalition and Afghan government forces in Afghanistan and Pakistani forces in Pakistan. The Ferghana Valley, where the Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Tajik borders converge, has been a fertile recruiting ground for the IMU, which successfully exploited the widespread poverty in the region in its recruitment strategy.

IMU's ability to draw recruits has increased following their allegiance with Islamic State. IMU also undertakes recruitment in Sar-e-Pul Province, northern Afghanistan and maintains training bases in Sar-e-Pul and Samangan Provinces.

The IMU has generated funds through drug trafficking, racketeering and solicitation of donations abroad. In May 2008, French, German and Dutch authorities detained ten individuals suspected of running a network to funnel money to the IMU in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. On 8 January 2013, a French Court sentenced a Turkish/Dutch national, Irfan Demirtas, to eight years' incarceration for leading the network which French prosecutors said had raised at least 300 000 Euros, with 170 000 Euros specifically designated for jihad. Eight others belonging to the group received lesser sentences.

Links to other terrorist organisations

In August 2015 IMU pledged allegiance to Islamic State and is aligned to IS–KP and former elements of the TTP. The IMU previously had close historical ties with al-Qa'Ida, the Taliban and other militant groups in the Afghanistan/Pakistan theatre and conducted operations with these groups against coalition forces between 2001 and 2015. The IMU may repair relations with such groups in the future.

IMU has enduring links with Afghanistan-based extremist group Jundullah, an armed militant group located in northern Afghanistan that splintered from the IMU in 2009. Jundullah shares the same objectives as the IMU and is sympathetic to its cause due to historical and ethnic ties; however, the full extent of these ties is unknown.

Links to Australia

There are no known direct links between the IMU and Australia.

Threats to Australian interests

The IMU has not directly threatened Australian interests.

However, given its anti-Western ideology and alignment to IS-KP, IMU would consider Westerners—including Australians—to be legitimate targets for attack. Further, given the sometimes indiscriminate nature of IMU attacks and its disregard for loss of life, Australians could be caught up in IMU attacks directed at others in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Listed by the United Nations or like-minded countries

The IMU has been listed in the United Nations 1267 Committee's consolidated list and as a proscribed terrorist organisation by the governments of the United Kingdom, United States and Canada.

Engagement in peace or mediation processes

The IMU is not involved in any peace or mediation processes.


On the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses that the IMU continues to be directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts.

In the course of pursuing its objectives, the IMU is known to have committed or threatened actions that:

  • cause, or could cause, death, serious harm to persons, serious damage to property, endanger life (other than the life of the person taking the action), or create a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public;
  • are intended to have those effects;
  • are done with the intention of advancing the IMU's political, religious or ideological causes;
  • are done with the intention of intimidating the government of one or more foreign countries; and are done with the intention of intimidating the public or sections of the public.